Hyped road project may take 2 more years to start

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 25:

The implementation of the much-hyped Kathmandu-Hetauda fast track road project could take at least two more years, with the government trying to involve Japan in its feasibility study. The project, once commissioned, will cut the distance between capital and Chitwan to 55.3 km from the present 194 km.

While the feasibility study is expected to take one year, the detailed study may take yet another year before private parties can step ahead to build the project.

“We are expecting the Japanese team to come here and file a report on the project so that the Japanese side agree to a grant to cover the feasibility study. I am sure they may be coming pretty soon,” said Madan Gopal Maleku, joint secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Works.

It may be recalled that while the project had hit the media headlines repeatedly in the past, any work on the project was ruled out since there was no law which facilitated private sector participation under Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) scheme. However, after the government enacted the legislation, the prospects of the fast track road have become brighter.

“The ordinance facilitating the private sector participation in infrastructure conservation and construction has cleared the deck. Things could be happening now,” Maleku further said. He also said the fact that the government has issued the ordinance is an assurance to the investors that it was keen on ensuring their participation. The estimated cost calculated by Finnida in 1996 was Rs 6 billion.